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New Pell grants available for eligible college students

July 18, 2006

The nation's governors last week urged qualified Pell Grant-eligible students to apply for new grants worth between $750 and $4,000.

The new Academic Competitiveness (AC) grants and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grants provide $790 million in funding for this fall and $4.5 billion over the next five years.

The grants provide further incentive for students to take more challenging courses in high school, and pursue college majors in high demand areas such as science, math, technology, engineering and critical foreign languages, according to a press release from the National Governors Association. The Department of Education estimates approximately 500,000 students will qualify to receive these grants.

The AC grants provide college students who completed a rigorous course of study in high school with additional funds of up to $750 during their freshman year, and up to $1,300 during their sophomore year. This is in addition to Pell Grant funds students already are receiving.

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College juniors and seniors who are eligible for SMART grants automatically will receive up to $4,000 in additional aid next year, according to the release.

To receive an Academic Competitiveness Grant, college freshmen and sophomores must be Pell Grant-eligible and have completed a program of rigorous high school coursework as defined by their state and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

To receive a SMART Grant, third- and fourth-year Pell Grant-eligible students must meet the requirements, major in designated science, technology, math or critical foreign languages, and maintain a 3.0 grade-point average.

Students may receive more eligibility and application information for both of these grant programs online at www.federalstudentaid.ed.gov or by calling 1-800-4FEDAID (1-800-433-3243).

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